movie film review | chris tookey


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  Marley Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
8.40 /10

Directed by: Kevin McDonald
Written by:

Released: 2012
Origin: UK
Colour: C
Length: 144

A great music doc.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Marley is not the prequel to A Christmas Carol or the doggie blockbuster Marley & Me. It’s a meticulously researched, consistently interesting documentary about superstar Bob Marley – and it makes two and a half hours pass in a flash.

The only time I met him, at a music awards ceremony, the king of reggae wasn’t at his best. He had an obnoxious entourage, was stoned on marijuana, and behaved like a diva about accepting an award from Peter Cook, because the latter was wearing a skirt for the occasion, which apparently ran counter to Marley’s Rastafarianism.

Marley eventually agreed to swallow his religious reservations and accept the award, but it was embarrassingly obvious that he enjoyed getting people to kow-tow to him.

Marley struck me then as being, like so many rock stars, a handsome egotist over-dependent on submissive adoration, and it comes as no surprise to learn from this documentary that he fathered 11 children by 7 different women, and that he was far from a good husband or father.

Though authorised by the family, Kevin McDonald’s film is frank about the great man’s strengths and weaknesses. You can detect his overwhelming need for commercial success in his unlikely cover version of Dion and the Belmonts’ Teenager In Love.

His resentment against authority clearly dates from his non-communication with his white father, and the refusal by the family’s building company to subsidise him.

Marley’s excellent music speaks for itself, but this is not a performance film. It’s an absorbing analysis of the man and his appeal, and as such it could hardly be bettered.

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